It was not easy, but it was worth it – these are the words family of a Steenberg couple used to describe the marriage of Frederick Fritz, 88, and Margaret Fritz, 88, who celebrated 65 years of marriage, last week.
The couple have been living in Trumpet Street for nearly six decades and got married on October 13 1951 after courting for five years.
Ms Fritz was a child minder and Mr Fritz a general worker. It was love at first sight for the pensioners when they met one day in Paarden Eiland.
“When I saw her I knew I wanted to marry her. I somehow knew she was going to be my partner,” said Mr Fritz.
Ms Fritz suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and while she is not able to communicate well, the love between the elderly couple can clearly still be seen. “We have been together through thick and thin, many trials and tribulations and we are really one unit because we have been together for so long,”said Mr Fritz.
Asked what he thinks has kept them together for the past 65 years, Mr Fritz said their love for each other prevails till this day, even in sickness. “I love her with all my heart. The foundation of our marriage over all these years has been communication. That is the key to any marriage,” he said. “Many couples nowadays break up after one year of marriage or even less. My advice to them would be to stick it out – not to give up at the first sight of some trouble. Marriages are not perfect, every union has its faults but if you support each other during the difficult times you will be able to make it together, through thick and thin, in sickness and in health,” said Mr Fritz.
The couple have six children, two sons and four daughters, sixteen grandchildren and sixteen great-grandchildren. The couple’s daughters said their parents’ union has made them more committed to their own marriages – all four have been married for decades. Eldest daughter Sandra Priestley, 64, remembers her mother’s strict ways and her father’s calm demeanour over the years. “I am what I am today through the grace of God and through the upbringing of my parents,” said Ms Priestley.
Second eldest Rashieda Kabley, 62, said Mr and Ms Fritz were the perfect parents. “They taught us very good values and I think as a result of this they have been able to stay strong in their marriage of 65 years,” said Ms Kabley.
Second youngest daughter Marlene Jobe, 57, said their family is very close. “Their bond made us stronger as a family and as a result we are a very close family. They were good rolemodels for us. My mother’s favourite saying was ‘It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it’, and I think that is what I kept close to my heart for my marriage,” said Ms Jobe.
Youngest daughter Natalie Petersen, 48, said the cornerstone of her parents’ marriage has been God and love. “Love carries you and it covers all. That and God’s grace when they accepted Jesus Christ carried them through so many years of marriage,” said Ms Petersen.